Have you gotten more conservative as you've gotten older?

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Have you gotten more conservative with age? Do you agree with Winston Churchill's pronouncement that "Everyone under thirty who isn't a communist hasn't got a heart. Everyone over thirty who is a communist hasn't got a brain."

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2000


Oh this is a good question.

The electricity went out for several hours today from a storm. (Normally, it seems to almost always get knocked out at night, and that doesn't bother me -- I don't know why, but it doesn't)

But today, after being off for what seemed like a long time, I started thinking that it would be really necessary to have a gun if something happened to all the major power grids in the nation. For certainly after a few days the whole social/economic system would certainly collapse. And of course, having a gun would be the only equalizer among a populace gone mad.

And then recently, I saw a PBS show detailing the study of tree rings, (I believe it was the 5th or 6th century) where worldwide growth patterns reflected several years of minimal growth -- which the culprit they felt was due to a massive equatorial volcanic eruption (namely Krakatoa) which darkened the skies worldwide from North to South Poles (which, by the way, ice cores samples verified heavy atmospheric sulfur during that time period) causing multi-year winter. Of course people starved and died.

But of course, you don't have to worry -- the next decent quake is going cause California to slide into the ocean, before any real world holocaust is likely. I'd keep an inflated inner tube handy, if I were you, with a rope to tie around your waist, a large bottle of Evian, and crusty French Bread wrapped in plastic ready to go. (that is, if the building doesn't crush you outright)

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2000

Did you mean "Food Not Bombs" or is "Bread Not Bombs" a new competing and even more self-righteous organization? It wouldn't surprise me since "food" could imply "evil" things like meat and dairy products. I once had a girlfriend who was deeply into these kinds of organizations and I had a lot of trouble taking them seriously. Most of the kids were doing it as a social thing and were more concerned about fashion and music than causes. The ones who were really into it were just pissed off at "the system" and acted like they were just six months away from overthrowing the world. I found you couldn't ask them more than three questions before they became angry and insulted. They probably thought I was from the CIA.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2000

I went through a moderately conservative phase in the mid-80s until I realized that 'conservative' put me in the company of anti-sex, anti- abortion, anti-social safety net, pro-religious fundamentalism, pro- censorship types... Or worse-- libertarians. At forty, I remain a believer in a finely-meshed social safety net, in a secular state, in abortion rights, in gay rights, in civil rights... I *do* dislike holier-than-thou types, though-- vegans, earth-firsters, isolationists, PETA, etc... I *like* steaks and air conditioning... I dislike people on both Left and Right who invoke Morality... I suppose I'm a nihilist/social-democrat...

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2000

You're right, Scott, it was Food Not Bombs, although in the process of figuring that out I discovered that there's also an organization called Bread Not Bombs that does similar stuff.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2000

Yes I have become more conservative, but I do not think I am a communist.... at least I hope not.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2000

Ooops, not that there is anything wrong with being a communist.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2000

perhaps a better question would be - ARE YOU LIBERAL AS YOU THINK? liberalism tends to be a rather relative concept. our white-bread world affords us the opportunity of being liberal when it suits our own personal ends, but when it becomes unpleasant we can change ideas as quickly as we do clothes.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2000

I've generally gotten more liberal with age. In general, every encounter with a conservative or libertarian philosophy over the last 15 years has served to cement my liberalism.

At this point I'm basically a New Deal liberal: I believe in social programs (welfare is one of the triumphant creations of human government), I believe in strong government regulation of big business (my reaction to the Microsoft break-up decision is, "It would be a good start, if it actually happens"), and I often feel that the biggest problem facing America is that too much energy is spent fighting cockamamie conservative actions (such as trying to outlaw abortion) that there's no energy left to create solutions that actually help people and improve things. *******

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2000

There's an old quote, "I became conservative once I had something to conserve."

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2000

i don't want to be picky, but winston churchill never said this. what is often attributed to him is "Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains."

another variation on this is,

"Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains."

in fact Churchill never said these or any variation. this is one of quite a few quotes that have been falsely attributed to churchill over the years. ---

i'm curious to know what it is that some people find so objectionable about libertarians?

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2000

Libertarians? Ah, yes... Now I can't object to a position that favors de-criminalization of drugs (the Drug War is a nightmare) and favors allowing individuals to set their own personal agendas and opposes any kind of censorship. What I *do* find obnoxious about libertarians is their self-righteousness. Try reading something by Ayn Rand-- self- righteousness and arrogance just drip from that harridan's prose. I also despise the libertarians' assumption that the market solves all problems in some optimal way, that everyone can be some kind of rising young entrepreneur and survive without a social safety net, that anything bad that happens to an individual or a social group is somehow their own fault, and that government has no role at all to play in life...

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2000

I've become more responsible and aware of the power of my beliefs.

It's obvious that Churchill agrees.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000

well obviously some libertarians are self-righteous, as are people from any political persuasion. blanketing "them" all this way is rather arrogant.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000

Yes, older and mroe conservative. Yet firghteningly anti- republican. But also in favor of mandatory shor thaircuts for minors. But in love with the lesbians at the Diesel cafe in Somerville, MA. But a staunch believer in family values. A balanced bag of contradictions....

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

Ashley-- as an awkward mix of postmodernist/nihilist and social- democrat, I find republicans and democrats often as obnoxiously righteous as libertarians. but you asked about libertarians, a group i tend to conceptualize as twentysomething Star Trek fans who long to be dot-com billionaires and want to smoke dope and not pay taxes. they take that republican devil-take-the-hindmost-o attitude to a moralizing extreme, and they can be at least as earnest as birkenstock-wearing vegan leftists. i see no reason to cut them any slack.

-- Anonymous, July 05, 2000

I used to be a Libertarian. I think a significant part of the appeal was the ease with which one could derive a position on almost any issue from the basic premises of the philosophy. When we're more interested in convincing ourselves that we understand something than we are in actually understanding it, simplistic thinking helps.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 2000


Thank you for being picky! I was getting agitated at the misquoted misquote, but when I saw that you had caught the error, I felt better.


-- Anonymous, November 01, 2000

I'm more liberal now that I'm 48 than when I was 30 in a lot of ways. I started as a hard-core libertarian back in high school and college. I still have strong libertarian leanings, but I now think there is more of a role for government in our lives than I used to.

-- Anonymous, November 01, 2000

Maybe it's age (I'm 46 now) or maybe I've gotten more conservative after having kids...

Mostly I'm a solid middle-of-the-road libertarian. (note: little "L" not big "L") In general (and almost all specifics) I believe you can do pretty much what you want; government should protect you from me and me from you, and not much more. You want to ride motorcycles without a helmet? Go do so - just don't expect me to cover your doctor bills if your head goes mush. (yes, you'll get comfort measures while you die. If you have insurance - that covers helmetless riding - you get medical care.) Same for other areas - guns (use of a gun in a crime is very harshly punished, owning a gun is not a crime at all) seat belts (see helmets) pornography (child porn excepted - for that I will flay you and pour salt on your wounds - THEN I get nasty) drugs (use 'em is fine, but being high doesn't allow you any excuse from accepted behavior - "I was stoned/drunk/whatever" is no defense for committing a crime - and driving is 0.0% limit) etc. etc.

Short answer (and often fairly accurate) is "social liberal, economic conservative"

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2001

I'm, 17. I'm a liberal-harcore democrat and PETA member. And I live in Los Angeles, California! "I <3 LA"

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2002

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